Gamers spread the word about te reo
Gaming in te reo has thrown up an unusual problem for a new Porirua business.
While the Arepa Gamers Club is on a mission to teach and further the Ma¯ ori language, it has not been as easy as Mokena Tumaurirere had expected.
‘‘There actually aren’t words for a lot of the gaming equipment – they don’t exist – someone needs to invent them.
‘‘Ma¯ ori people tend to star in the games, not make them, which is what we want to change.’’
On first glance, the club’s new premises could be any internet cafe: screens and cosy chairs line the room but small details show there’s more at play.
Equipment is labelled with te reo names and a sign at the door spells out ‘‘whanau rules and deals’’.
It’s gaming, just not as people are used to, Tumaurirere said.
‘‘It’s also tricking kids into learning. By making things fun you get them excited about educating themselves.’’
Common te reo phrases used in gaming were ‘‘I wini ahau’’, which means ‘‘I won’’, or ‘‘ta¯karo ano¯’, which means ‘‘play again’’.
Still in the early stages, the business would eventually run language classes and organise bilingual competitions – they were already planning the Pacific Challenge, where players from different nations would play against each other.
Coding workshops were on the cards and developers would encourage people – especially Ma¯ori and Pasifika – to get involved in designing games.
Sio Paese said the business grew from a sense of community, gaming was often a solitary pastime but that could be changed.
It was also a way of keeping young people out of trouble.
‘‘My mum got our first Playstation to keep us off the streets. We converted the garage and that’s where everyone would hang out.’’
While providing a day-to-day service for people who just wanted to game, the end goal was to run events where competitors had to speak another language.
‘‘It’s also about challenging the negative stereotypes about gaming by showing it can have a positive impact on families and communities.’’
The business was helped by Porirua City Council’s Pop Up Porirua Programme, which helps small businesses get a foothold in the city.
It will be holding an open day from 4pm to 8pm on December 15, at 7 Serlby Place, Porirua City Centre.
‘‘It’s also tricking kids into learning.’’ Mokena Tumaurirere, Arepa Gamers Club
Mokena Tumaurirere, left, and Sio Paese at Arepa Gamers Club in Porirua. The new business aims to promote the Ma¯ori language.